Fudgy Vegan Tofu Frosting (and a bunch of cupcakes)

tofu frosting
So it happened, and I didn’t cry. I mean, I did cry, but not once it was real. Anticipation is usually the hardest. In any case, Little Monkey turned three. And, as has been his M.O. since before birth, in so many ways (with the major exception of his arrival) he made it surprisingly easy for me.  He was so proud, so of course I was/am so proud. “I’m free,” he’s been announcing to everyone sweetly.  “Mine party was in the mountains.”
 tofu frosting
Indeed, the “party in the mountains” was so much fun, both singular and signature to our joyful little Colorado kid, who devised the whole plan in specific detail himself. Tofu hot dog and roasted cauliflower loving, active boy was adamant, “little hiking party, not big one, Estes park.”  The low-key, casual focus…literally a hike around a scenic lake…made for relaxed planning, low-stress prep,  and tons of fun. Essentially, I got to throw myself with total abandon, as is my M.O. I suppose, into cupcakes.
 
tofu frosting2
Most people who know me know, I have a tendency to overthink food. Whether I’m providing, consuming or gifting, it has to be healthy (or healthy, considering), for one thing. A lot of symbolism goes into it. It’s always made with love, but it’s not always successful, and when that’s the case, I don’t very well let go. Seriously, apologies and even nightmares over bland soup that would have been otherwise forgotten by the recipient. I’m passionate, committed and invested when it comes to cooking, creating, and arranging meals. It may seem like obsessing, but I know about obsessing, and I’m not there anymore. It was a dark place.
 
For the past two years, I’ve taken bashful but blooming pride in Little Monkey’s gluten-free, vegan, low sugar/naturally sweetened birthday cupcake assortment. Those years, I stopped short of making “real” frosting, opting for plain melted dark chocolate instead. This year, I wanted something more frosting-like, something that would hold up well traveling to the mountains and potentially sitting in the sun awhile. And suddenly, as I channeled hyper energy scouring cyberspace for “healthy frosting”, suddenly I stopped. Not sure if paralysis or stillness is the more appropriate word. I started to think about my relationship with food, which is too intertwined with body image to detach as two separate entities, so I thought about that, too.
 
Fitty's party Lily Lake-13Food relationships and body image. With both, everyone has a long, evolving personal journey, and often one or both are painful and incomplete. For me, the former was where symptoms of the latter manifested most, and I have a lot to say about that, another day. What I will say is, there was a time a long time ago when I found myself landing in the hospital, gray in complexion, bruising easily, coughing up blood and shedding hair like sloughed-off summer skin cells, throbbing with self-loathing and anxiety that I “couldn’t even be anorexic right”, still failing to reach a fantasy, idealized thinness. So many factors played into the journey, both into and out of the void, and I can honestly, confidently say the winding road eventually developed into a gift that is now a healthy, loving, knowledgeable relationship with food. Again another conversation, another day. What’s important now, in this post about frosting, is that for a moment I startled myself by asking, what messages am I sending my child in my heartfelt flurry of baking? Will he grow up appreciating how his parents tried their best to raise him on a (mostly) plant-based diet, or rejecting and maybe resenting imposed choices? Will he go through a rebel phase of hammering hot dogs and blimping out on on burgers in actual spite? By contemplating withholding frosting am I prioritizing deprivation?
 
Fitty's party Lily Lake-18Life isn’t about yes/no questions. Any answers I may have now will just keep on changing shape and tone, and they’ll just be my answers, not a one for everyone. I won’t pretend I spent a huge amount of time that particular frozen moment spent contemplating. I was baking, after all. But what did rise to the top of thought was simply confirmation: I want to be the best role model I am capable of and know how to be in each moment. And, my darling adventurer and kale-craving adventurous eater can have some frosting.
 
This year, Little Monkey got to choose from gluten-free vegan sweet potato cupcakes, vegan double chocolate cupcakes, and grain-free low sugar banana cupcakes. They were not baked with angst over what people would think, and they were yummy. They were all topped with a chocolate tofu frosting concoction I stumbled upon because I couldn’t get vegan butter (dairy-based not an option for us). If tofu frosting hardly seems like flexibility attained from a moment of self-reflection, know: it does pack in a solid amount of sugar, but it’s merely 3 (or 4, with vanilla) simple ingredients, whizzed in a blender. It’s so easy, holds up great (as tested by a 3-year old’s mountain hiking party), and is delicious. Perfect cupcake topping so long as you’re ok with soy, and not such a sugar-rush that you’d consider shoveling in a bowl-ful. Thank you for your Happy Birthday, sweet Fitty. Whatever you choose to color your plate and your journey as the years roll by, we love you.
 
 
Fudgy Vegan tofu frosting
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 4-ounce (1/2 block) soft (not silken) tofu
  2. 1 cup dark chocolate pieces or chips
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, gentle melt chocolate in a little water on medium-low, stirring, until smooth (or microwave on low until melted).
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine tofu, sugar, melted chocolate and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
  3. Scrape mixture with a spatula into a storage container, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before applying to cake or cupcakes. (Frosting will set in the fridge, and will hold up well even after brought to room temperature.)
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

 

Double chocolate vegan cupcakes
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  2. 2/3 cup sugar
  3. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  5. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  6. 1/3 cup dark chocolate, melted
  7. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  9. 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  10. 1 tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl combine almond milk, oil, applesauce, sugar, apple cider vinegar,melted chocolate, and vanilla.
  2. Add in flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix well, until smooth.
  3. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two thirds full for each. Bake for about 22 minutes at 350F, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Cool completely and frost with tofu frosting.
Adapted from Oh She Glows
Adapted from Oh She Glows
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/

Grain-free almond banana muffin-cupcakes
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Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 very ripe bananas
  3. 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  4. 1/3 cup honey (I used Madhava banana flavored honey) or maple syrup
  5. 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  6. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 3/4 cup almond meal/almond flour
  10. 3/4 cup chickpea flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin paper liners
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas. Stir in applesauce, honey or maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Add almond meal and chickpea flour and stir until batter is well combined.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool before frosting (or leave as they are for yummy muffins).
Happy Apple Natural Kitchen http://www.happyapplekitchen.com/
Sweet potato cupcakes used this recipe from last year, only with 1 cup tapioca flour and 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour. 🙂

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